Dennis Leupold for MIXOLOSHE
Zayn Malik was already dreaming of making a splash in the soft drink industry before Christina Roth entered the mix. All it needed was the right partner, and Roth — who last year founded Mixoloshe, a brand dedicated to mimicking drinks for adults minus the hangover — fit the bill.
Now the former bandit is the new co-owner and chief creative officer of the company. He and Roth announced the joint venture last week, while also unveiling Malik’s first-ever original flavor of “drunken alcohol-free” fake seltzer: the Lychee Martini, a fruity yet floral pain-free concoction described as having enough sparkle to ” make a unicorn jump for joy.” At 45 calories, the drink’s sleek black can is printed with designs based on the “Pillowtalk” singer’s combination of bad boy tattoos all over his body.
Coming just as Malik is pumping out his next batch of new music, the partnership was first teased in the music video for his July single “Love Like This” with a brief shot of one of Mixoloshe’s brightly colored sprinkles.
“These drinks offer a range of benefits, from a healthier lifestyle to more inclusive for different occasions,” says the star billboard. “I want to make sure everyone feels comfortable and has the right to choose them without judgment.”
Below, Malik teases his upcoming new music, shares his goals to “disrupt” the soft drink industry and the start of his partnership with Mixoloshe:
We’re told you’re busy this week in the studio. Can you give us an update on new music?
I’m finishing it right now, ready to share it with the world. Excited and ready.
Take us through the timeline of your partnership with MIXOLOSHE. Their website says you started out as a fan of their products – then you contacted the company with the idea of working together?
My journey into the soft drink industry began about six months ago when I was introduced to Christina. I have been interested in this industry for years, mainly because of its potential for innovation and creativity. At the same time, Christina was actively looking for a creative partner to bring fresh ideas to her venture. In June, we officially joined forces and wasted no time getting to work.
Did MIXOLOSHE’s female leadership in particular motivate you to join the company?
After hearing about Christina and meeting her, I was really moved by her passion and drive for the brand. Her business skills spoke for themselves, but the product still had to speak to me in different ways, and it did. Mixoloshe, its goals, its products, its market positioning, all aligned with what I wanted to jump into.
As a man, what do you hope to add to a business run and founded by women?
I think it’s just about giving my best to the company in any way I can, and that’s what I’ll strive to do. We lift each other up and that’s what I love about the partnership. Sharing and embracing each other’s skills and talents. Collaboration is key, our common goal is to provide the best for our client Mixoloshe. If people are going to spend their hard earned money on our drinks, I want them to be the best in the game.
As a musician, what perspective do you hope to bring to MIXOLOSHE that the company may not have considered prior to your partnership?
I believe there is a strong parallel between making music and making cocktails, and that is the importance of getting the balance right to create harmony. The art of creating the perfect music and achieving the perfect sensory harmony are intertwined, in my opinion, as both require careful balance and a keen sense of creativity. When you compose music, every note and instrument has to go together in the right way. Similarly, in the world of cocktails, it is essential to mix different elements and flavors to create a perfect taste experience.
You said the soft drinks market was “poised to crash”. What do you mean by “disruption” and how do you plan to bring it about?
Disruption in the non-alcoholic space is driven by innovation. Creating unique flavors that can rival their alcoholic counterparts is a game changer. Consumers are increasingly looking for exciting taste experiences in the realm of soft drinks.
Second, the quality of the ingredients used in these drinks is paramount. Using premium, natural and sustainable ingredients not only elevates the product, but also meets the growing demand for healthier, conscious choices. Finally, accessibility plays a crucial role in ensuring broad accessibility for our brand. Innovation in the non-alcoholic category should not be limited to high-end products, but should include options that are accessible to a wide range of customers.
Why soft drinks? Why are sober alternatives to alcohol important to you personally and your life?
I have such a busy work schedule so I have to be included. I’m always trying new sparkling/flavored waters, all kinds of drinks that are refreshing yet fun. The chance to create my own with flavors that I think are missing in the current market in the way we deliver them with our brand is really special.
I also really liked the idea that this category brings people together, regardless of their beverage choices. I’m all for it and it feels good to provide a high quality product at an affordable price, which was really important to me.
What do you want your fans to know about this new venture?
My commitment to removing the stigma around soft drinks. Non-alcoholic options shouldn’t be reserved for non-drinkers, and the idea that soft drinks are exclusively for ‘sober’ people is a stereotype I’m determined to challenge. My commitment lies in both innovation and social change, creating an environment where enjoying a non-alcoholic beverage is a choice, not a label, and where these beverages become a vibrant and prominent part of the beverage landscape.
Do you see this as a stepping stone to becoming someone like Rihanna, Jay-Z or Justin Timberlake, all of whom are moguls who started out as musicians?
They were all very successful and it was amazing to see. I’m on my own journey though, I don’t like to look left and right. I’m on my own road from Bradford to wherever it takes me next!